AU political science expert weighs in on Hubbard's criminal charges

What do the charges against AL Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard mean? An explainer

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - One of Alabama's most powerful lawmakers is facing nearly two dozen criminal ethics violations.

"We have made monumental changes that definitely are shaking up the status quo and during that process we've angered some people who like things just the way they are," Alabama Speaker of the House Mike Hubbard said at a press conference Tuesday.

By reading the indictment, the average citizen can understand the severity of these charges, but what do they really mean?

"There are several sets of charges. There are charges that he used his office as a legislature to solicit business. Then there are charges he personally profited from his position as the state legislator," Auburn University political science professor Dr. Jim Seroka said.

The remaining counts include using his offices as chairman of Alabama Republican Party for personal gain, voting for legislation with a conflict of interest, lobbying an agency for a fee and using state equipment for private gain.

"There are serious charges," Seroka said.

If convicted, Hubbard could face maximum of 20 years in prison and up to $30,000 in fines for each count.

Seroka says it's now in the hands of the court.

"It is still up to the prosecution to prove the case and as we know a person is innocent until proven guilty," Seroka said.

With the election two weeks away, Seroka doesn't believe the changes will effect Hubbard's reelection, but rather the amount of people who will turn out to vote.

"When people go to the polls, I think they need to take a look at the issues and being indicted 23 times is something serious that I think an informed voter would want to know about, what does this mean," Seroka said.

Hubbard has said he is the victim of a witch hunt, lead by the Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange.

"Now, I am able to defend myself," Hubbard said.

Seroka believes if this was the case, the indictment would have come out earlier.

"The important kind of issue would be those identified as people who are accused of soliciting or being solicited for a favor, whether or not they will be indicted and whether they seek a plea agreement or decide to fight the charges," Seroka said.

Hubbard first court appearance will be Nov. 13 in Lee County. A trial is slated to start Dec. 8.

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